A Holistic Approach to Addressing Online Attacks
In this series on reputation management, we have previously discussed online defamation, revenge porn, and how to handle online attacks by an anonymous person. In this article, we will discuss the various tactics that can be used to maintain control over a business or individual’s online reputation. There are a variety of different tools that can be utilized to successfully regain control over your search results. KJK’s Reputation Management team utilizes a holistic approach that includes a combination of the following:
What are the different reputation management tactics?
Legal Methods of Content Removal
The most effective and permanent way to gain control of your online narrative is through legal content removal. Legal content removal encompasses a myriad of strategic tools to assist in attaining permanent removal of damaging Internet content. While there are many different methods that can be utilized to remove content, we employ a tailored, strategic approach. Utilizing too aggressive of a method can sometimes result in a damaging phenomenon called the Streisand Effect.
There are a variety of reputation management companies that offer content removal services; however, the person completing this work is typically not an attorney. In complicated removal situations, this can be a huge risk. An attorney can help remove content while also preserving its publication so victims don’t lose evidence of legal claims. KJK’s content removal attorneys assist clients in weighing removal options and in minimizing these risks. Attorneys have both legal and non-legal tools available to assist victims of cyber-attacks in achieving their unique goals.
Typically, an attorney will attempt to remove damaging content through a combination of one or more of the following methods:
Submitting A DMCA Takedown Notice
A Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice (also called a DMCA request) is a tool provided by United States copyright law that allows a copyright holder to seek removal of content for which they own the copyright. This request enables copyright holders to request removal of photos, videos and creative arrangements of their content without filing a lawsuit. A DMCA request is an invaluable tool to attain content removal. While this request is typically used to protect the intellectual property rights of a business or artist, it can also be used to remove revenge porn.
Revenge porn victims may not think of their private intimate photographs as their intellectual property; however, a person who took a photo, including a “selfie,” is the copyright holder. This means that many revenge porn victims have the power, under United States Copyright law, to demand removal of their photos from websites.
While you do not need an attorney to send a DMCA request on your behalf, you may want one, especially if the content you want removed is sensitive. Attorneys have ways of protecting your identity when submitting DMCA requests for sensitive content like revenge porn. This is especially important when the recipient of a DMCA request submits that request to be published in the Lumen Database. The Lumen Database is an archive that collects and publishes DMCA requests so that internet users can see the source of content removals.
Sending A Cease and Desist Letter
An attorney may send a cease and desist letter on your behalf demanding removal of damaging internet content. The tone of this letter is extremely important and can vary from aggressive to diplomatic, depending on the particular circumstances of the case. If a recipient of a cease and desist letter ignores the letter, your next step would be to file a lawsuit.
Obtaining a Court Order
Often, the most permanent and effective content removal tactic is achieved through securing a court order. You must file a lawsuit to receive a court order. It is important to know that you do not need to know the identity of the publisher of the negative content to pursue a court order. Attorneys have the ability to file John Doe lawsuits against an anonymous person and ascertain that person’s identity through the discovery process.
Public Relations- Controlling your narrative
If you are unable to obtain removal of content, or the content has already gone viral, your best option is to regain control of the public narrative through public relations. A public relations approach can be extremely successful when used in conjunction with content removal. Our team of reputation attorneys and public relations specialists work together to craft an approach in alignment with your legal strategy. At KJK, our Reputation Management team helps our clients control their narrative by:
- Drafting media and social media statements
- Drafting responses for use in administrative hearings
- Drafting responses to negative online reviews
Online Reputation Management (ORM)
Online Reputation Management (ORM) encompasses Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Suppression Services. This tool works to actively push down negative internet content in search results by generating new, positive content.
While Online Reputation Management (ORM) Services can be extremely effective in burying content in the depths of Google, it does not prevent content from being seen. People with existing URLs to the negative content at issue will still be able to see it and share it. As a result, the content still has the potential to go viral. Additionally, when you stop paying for ORM services, the content can reemerge at the top of your search results. Typically, we suggest ORM as a last resort if removal efforts have failed, or as a temporary solution to suppress content while content removal efforts are pending.
We have established relationships with ORM specialists who can effectively assist you in SEO efforts and content suppression, while not interfering with legal removal efforts.
KJK Can Help With A Holistic Approach to Reputation Management
- An attorney can use a combination of legal and non-legal reputation management tactics to secure removal
- An attorney can help you preserve your legal rights in case you want to litigate
- An attorney can help you minimize the chance of the Streisand effect
- An attorney can help you permanently remove content (suppression/ SEO services just work to bury it)
- An attorney can help you seek damages
If your reputation has been damaged, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney to discuss which of the methods discussed above will work best for you.